The field of queenship is continually expanding and drawing attention from scholars. Over the years, and especially through the Queenship and Power series at Palgrave Macmillan, a notable number of studies have emerged highlighting the importance of queens as consorts, regnants, and regents during the early modern period.
Lindy Grant’s long awaited and magisterial (although here one particularly laments the lack of a gender-appropriate adjective) book offers us a biography of Blanche of Castile, the Iberian princess famously chosen by her grandmother, Eleanor of Aquitaine, to marry the son of Philip II of France, Lord Louis, the future Louis VIII.
Before beginning this review, it is important to frame the commentary that follows with two caveats; first, that I (or we as academics), am not the intended audience of this book and secondly, that although I have some criticisms of this work which I will discuss further below, I did genuinely enjoy reading this.
This is an important and timely book. Engaging intelligently with a range of sources and historiographical traditions, Simon MacLean tells the story of tenth-century queenship through the prism of the Ottonian royal family. The Ottonians ruled East Francia (roughly speaking, Germany) from 919 to 1024, and from 961 northern Italy too.
In recent decades historians, postcolonial theorists and feminist scholars have demonstrated how, in a variety of geographical settings, gendered stereotypes supported the conquest and domination of overseas territories by European colonial regimes.